Diaries: Letters to Ourselves by Kay Roberts

A few months ago, I rediscovered a diary I kept when I was thirteen years old.  This find made me think that diaries might make good Christmas presents for my grandchildren, ages ten and thirteen. I cautioned them to avoid dumb entries such as my own: “Washed my hair, went to the show.”  I do like my entry about liking Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, except for being "stuck beside somebody who smelled like barn" (I grew up in a little farm community in Wisconsin).  I had hoped my old diary would give me a glimpse of who…

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The Reveal
Street level window for Local Edition

The Reveal

The word “reveal,” according to Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, means “to make (something secret or hidden) publicly or generally known.”   Or, according to Merriam-Webster online, reveal means “to disclose, divulge, or tell.” In screenwriting, “the reveal” generally comes near the end of the script, when the viewers finally become privy to hidden information that explains all that came before. The most interesting stories written by professional journalists include a reveal. This can happen in a feature story or profile, but in investigative journalism, the reveal can make or break a story, not to mention the reporter’s…

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Post Office Boxes by Kay Roberts
Post Office boxes, Calistoga, CA

Post Office Boxes by Kay Roberts

On a recent little vacation in Calistoga, I realized I would miss a friend’s major birthday if I didn’t find and mail her a card.  So I got myself out of a steaming pool and over to the post office.  I go to Calistoga for those steaming pools at least twice a year, but I never had occasion before to visit the post office, and when I saw the rows of beautiful old post office boxes, I became (excessively, says my husband) nostalgic. What memories of growing up in the 1940s and 50s in Cumberland, Wisconsin…

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USPS Releases Mister Rogers Forever Stamp
Mister Rogers Forever Stamp

USPS Releases Mister Rogers Forever Stamp

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, as the mother of young children, Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood on PBS was my hero. Mister Rogers taught children his wise and fulfilling lessons about the world and their own self worth, while also serving as a role model for parents. Many of the oft-repeated aphorisms of Mister Rogers have remained with me throughout my adult life. If I have not always practiced them, it is not because I do not believe them. Who cannot see the intrinsic value of being told, “There is no person in…

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Love Letters
Valentine greeting card

Love Letters

Does anyone write love letters anymore? Last week, my husband and I attended the beautiful wedding of his great niece in Las Vegas.  There was so much joy, happiness, and tears going around that one could literally feel the love in the air. The young bride and groom met in a creative writing class at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.  Their writing instructor served as the best man at their wedding. The couple bonded over their shared love of reading and writing.  I like to think that there will be many love letters in their future,…

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Frederick Douglass:  Gentleman of Letters
Frederick Douglass's private study

Frederick Douglass: Gentleman of Letters

  Frederick Douglass (1818 – 1895), African American writer, orator, and social activist, was a gentleman of letters. Born into slavery, he was largely self-taught, learning to read and write prior to entering his teens. His eloquence and fiery oratory gave him great influence as an abolitionist, social activist, and diplomat throughout his adult lifetime. Last month, on a visit with my daughter in Washington, DC, we had the opportunity to tour Frederick Douglass’s final home, Cedar Hill, located in Anacostia. Douglass, who purchased Cedar Hill from the Freedmen’s Bank in 1877, lived there for seventeen…

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New Look New Year

Readers may have noticed that as of the New Year, Social Correspondence has a new look.  Going into year five, it was time to make some updates to improve both functionality and readability. First, sincere thanks to Sara of JuicyDesign.  JuicyDesign created the original Social Correspondence site, and thanks to Sara’s web design expertise, the theme (or template) is now updated.  Sara is a dream to work with, should you be contemplating creating your own site. Among the changes: the site is now configured for clearer viewing on your smart phone or tablet as well as…

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Heron’s Head Park
Sunken pier

Heron’s Head Park

In the southeast sector of San Francisco, where the shoreline faces the bay, there lies a finger of land known as Heron’s Head Park.   Located just blocks from the postal substation on Evans Street in the Bayview district, the park is so named because, from the air, the land resembles the head of a heron. Heron’s Head Park is owned by the City and managed by the Port of San Francisco. It is the perfect place to take a short walk and to experience a lesser-known part of the waterfront. It is a place where one…

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Favorite Books 2017

New enticing titles are on the horizon in 2018, but looking back, I would like to share some of my favorite books from 2017. Many “best books” of the year lists are compiled near the end of the year – check out New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, and Publishers Weekly, to name just a few. While some of my favorite books are crossovers from these lists, and/or appear on local and/or national bestsellers lists, my lists are by no means comprehensive or definitive. The following reading suggestions are merely those that I found most enjoyable…

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Holiday Greetings

As another year draws to conclusion, it is time once again to extend sincere holiday greetings to friends and family, near and far. This, of course, includes the readers of Social Correspondence! Thank you for allowing me into your lives over this past year.  For those of you who have shared comments, subjected yourselves to interviews, or contributed guest columns, special thanks! Our mailbox has been filled daily for the past couple of months. First, there was that annual slew of holiday catalogs, offering tantalizing glimpses of everything from flannel pajamas to expensive electronic equipment. Despite…

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